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TOM:Calgary 2016

Bringing communities together to solve personalized challenges posed by people with disabilities. TOM:Calgary 2016 is happened AGAIN in August!

What is a makeathon? A marathon of making!

Need Knowers were encouraged to submit challenge(s) to TOM:Calgary. They were then matched with a team of makers, whom they worked with to create an assistive device - and the manufacturing all happened in a spectacular 72 hour period!

Team Raising Chair

When you sign up for TOM:Makeathon, you have to “be ready to work hard and work fast” shared 19 year old Mechanical Engineering student, Daniel Krayzel. Daniel, Chris Kotelmach, Michal Dattner, Reza Zadeh worked together with Hillary Villeneuve and her parents Jeanette and Tony to design a chair with a lift so Hillary can easily and comfortably join her family at the dinner table.

Diagnosed with Rett Sydrome at the age of 2, Hillary now 19 years old is a high school graduate who enjoys playing baseball, bowling, and horseback riding. She also enjoys music therapy, watsu water therapy, and horticulture therapy. Hillary is a people person, always cheerful and sociable, she is curious about the world around here and is always trying new things.

Hillary and her parents are extremely excited about the newly outfitted lift chair that adjusts to different heights that will also be comfortable for Hillary to watch TV, hang out in the kitchen, or play on the computer. Check out the design -

Team AudioPhiles

Gina Nenniger is a Maker through and through. She met Richard, TOM:Calgary organizer when her son joined the Western Canadian Robotics Society (WCRS), after he went off to college, she stayed involved! Her home is always open, Gina’s got young innovators working from dawn to dusk, through the night on new designs!

Gina recently started experiencing hearing loss, with her four kids living around the world, she decided to learn a new language. But she found herself not hearing all the syllables and missing half the words. She presented her challenge to TOM:Calgary.

Martin Berka, Yuting He, Tanner Collin, and Paul Parkin were assigned to work together with Gina to develop a solution! After three days and two sleepless nights, the team succeeded at developing a new product - so Gina can put on earphones and listen to music or learn a new language. At the beginning of the event, Martin shared how the team had worked with sensors before but didn’t have experience working with sounds, but the power of the TOM team is that they all work together on this new terrain and succeed together! The team had a great time working with Gina, her expertise and “engineering way of thinking” made it fun to discuss new ideas and bounce around directions for the project. Check out the project here -

Team Lift

Ben Haines has one message for you, “Never give up”. At 29 years old, Ben moved to Calgary back in ‘97 and is the expert when it comes to fixing appliances in the region, “name a company, I’ve worked with them..”

On December 7th, 2016, Ben was injured in a diving accident and is now quadriplegic. Holding true to his mantra, he’s making plans for the future - may go back to school to study criminology, psychology or business or may go into addiction counseling.

Still at the rehabilitation hospital, Ben has his eye out to achieving independence - from working with his friends to outfit a bus that can manage the back hills of the Canadian Rockies to designing a safe way for him to float down river.

Ben now requires a body lift to help get him into bed, but after looking around, he realized that if he wanted to go to a hotel or stay at a friend’s house, there was simply no portable lifts on the market.

Ben worked together with Zaid Abdul-ghafoor,  Justin Bagga, Anubhav Gupta, Guy Musahanov and successfully designed a body lift, weighing only 50 lb that can fit into a check-in bag and can be easily assembled by a single person. Check out the designs here -

Team Extra Set of Hands

Rose was diagnosed with Parkinson Disease at the end of 2002, on the same day her youngest granddaughter was born. “We were pretty lucky that the news overshadowed the other.”

Rose was paired with Tahmid Khan, Lauren Jatana,  Ismail Kamal, and Bob Cai to develop solutions for her challenges. Rose struggles with “freezing”, a sudden, brief inability to start movement or to continue moving (like walking).

Rose has a challenging time picking things up off the floor as a result of the freezing and losing her balance. The team designed a custom-made cane that has a remote controlled grabber and a lazar so Rose can track and minimize “freezing”. Check out the project here -

The team was working with Rose in the weeks leading up to the makeathon, so when Rose mentioned that she was having a hard time with stairs, the team discussed hitech solutions... but realized after speaking with Rose that by placing neon masking at the edge of the stairs, she would would be able to track her steps. Rose was overjoyed.

Team Straight Up G

When Alan Yu joined TOM:Calgary, he mentioned that he “Hopes to have made a change in someone's life, I want to design something achievable and to make an impact”

Alan, Ellie Chen and Lucas Chen worked together with Julietta Gloria Rubio to help her figure out a way to stop straining her back. Gloria, originally from Mexico with her MA in Engineering of Transportation and Logistics was born with a degenerative eye disease which has caused her to become legally blind.  

“Sometimes a small tool is a big difference in our lives.” Gloria explained that everything is interconnected, when you have short sight, you may have headaches and chronic back pain from bending over and straining to see.

The team worked for 72 straight hours to develop a solution for this challenge and designed a small device that Gloria clips to her shirt and vibrates when she bends over for more than 10 seconds. This reminds Gloria to sit up straight. The added beauty of the device is that it can fit in her purse and she can bring it on the go. Check out the solution here -

Team Zhao

Calvenn Tsuu moved to Canada in 2000, his father-in-law, Yie Zhao, lives in China and suffered a stroke 2 years ago. Tsuu is always looking for ways to help his father-in-law and went so far as to bring him a powered wheelchair from Canada last year.

With the aging population worldwide and limited income, there aren’t enough Physical Therapists available for stroke patients. In countries like Japan, they have designed robots to do therapy with patients.

With time, Zhao’s muscles are atrophying. Calvenn, Roberto Martinez, Riley Booth, and Jacob George created a wheelchair mounted elbow extender to help Zhao regain movement in his right arm. The new product currently costs $150 to develop. Check out the design here -

Team Goalie

Meet Kari Parson. Kari is starting medical school next semester, she has autism and dyslexia. In order to keep track of her tasks, Kari has developed a paper-based approach guiding her through each step of the day. With the upcoming school year, she reached out to TOM to help her develop a system that could help her track her goals and obligations.

Paul Natarajan, Ulian Shahnovich, and Mason Brothers designs a web application for Kari, taking her paper based workflow and putting it online. Check out the application here -

Ulian shared, “TOM:Calgary was a wonderful opportunity to work directly with a Need Knower without barriers that you get in the real world… this event gives us the opportunity to give  the project 150% and really do anything we want to do. All you need it to bring yourself and turn on your imagination! In the real world you have your job description and you go from there, here it’s a really unique work in process. In the end of the day, we get to see the Kari with the products… and happy.. We know that development of this app would have been very expensive otherwise, but that is what makes TOM so unique.”

Thank you to the TOM:Calgary partners:

A huge thank you to everyone who made TOM:Calgary 2015 such a success:

Calgary Jewish Federation
Maker Faire
Calgary Makerbus
Telus Spark
4G Vision Tech Ltd.
Calgary Tool Library
Hawk Ridge Systems
Parkinson Society
Chianti Uptown on 17th Ave, Calgary
Aladdin Donair & Pizza, Calgary
Subway in Bridgeland, Calgary
Community Natural Foods
Phoenix from Shaw – Go!
Our wonderful need-knowers, design teams and volunteers

Earlier Event: August 25
miniTOM:JLM 2016 for Wounded Warriors
Later Event: September 23
TOM:Buenos Aires 2016